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2 Contents About this guide How to set up your business in London is published by London & Partners, the official promotional company for London. Inside you ll find: Essential steps: things you must do when setting up a business in London. Insights and lessons learned: overseas companies who have expanded to London tell us what went right and what went wrong. Guidance from our professional partners: expert insights on tax, property, finance, legislation, recruitment, research and development, intellectual property, PR, social media and more. Opportunities: we highlight growth spots, tax and financial breaks, and emerging trends. 04 About London & Partners 06 Why expand to London 10 Forming a UK entity 11 Legal entities 12 Intellectual property 14 Tax structures 16 Practical steps 17 Organising visas 20 Bank accounts, telecommunications and insurance 22 Recruiting staff 26 Setting up your office 32 Launch and grow 35 Networking and finding professional partners 38 Enjoy London life 46 How London & Partners can help London & Partners is such an obvious partner: authoritative, impartial and free. CHRISTOPHER LUKEZIC HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS EMEA AIRBNB 2 How to set up your business in London 3

3 ABOUT LONDON & PARTNERS LONDON & PARTNERS We ve learnt from the best people like you Who better to ask about succeeding in London than the overseas companies already based here. London & Partners London & Partners is the official promotional company for London. We help overseas businesses set up and grow in the capital. London & Partners business team has helped hundreds of companies from more than 40 countries set up and grow their business in London. We are delighted to present this guide, which combines the insights and experience of those who have made the leap to this thriving city, with the very latest professional advice from our extensive network of partners. From the processes of setting up tax and legal entities through to practical advice on organising visas and recruiting staff, establishing your office and promoting your business, you ll find expert guidance and tips from some of the best in the business. And because London is one of the world s best cities in which to play as well as work, we have included a lifestyle section in order to highlight London s world-class theatres and galleries, sporting events and green spaces. As London s official promotional company, dedicated to helping companies like yours realise their exciting ambitions, we look forward to making sure that you set up, succeed and grow in London. I was trying to keep costs down and I was doing everything myself. I couldn t ask for money from my company until I started generating revenue. I wasn t experienced in setting up a company. Then London & Partners came along. It was like a breath of fresh air for me; a big relief. SERGIO ANIDJAR DIRECTOR BEDROCK EUROPE One key theme runs throughout: a deep understanding of the opportunities offered by London s beneficial business regulations and culture. No matter how well you know the UK and its capital, this guide is designed to help you make the right choices when it comes to fitting out your office, networking, managing your reputation and even finding somewhere to live. Our expert team offers free advice to potential investors, from start-ups to established companies, to help them explore how London can play a role in their global business. We provide bespoke advice based around business drivers to help companies make better informed decisions more quickly. Working with a network of partners, we provide investors with the information they need to take advantage of London s opportunities from day one. Free and confidential, our services include:» building the business case for London» sector-specific information and contacts» finding the best property in the right locations» access to high-quality professional, legal and accountancy advice through our network of commercial partners» advice on relocation» help finding the best people from London s huge pool of talent and skills» connecting companies to London s business networks. IN 2013, WE HELPED 260 INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES SET UP OPERATIONS IN LONDON. GORDON INNES CEO LONDON & PARTNERS Contact us to see how we can help. 4 How to set up your business in London 5

4 ABOUT LONDON & PARTNERS WHY EXPAND TO LONDON Why expand to London London is one of the world s most exciting, dynamic and profitable cities in which to establish a business. Here are a dozen reasons why you should set up here Office hours overlap Entrepreneur visas for those with countries generating seeking start-up funding. 99% of global GDP. London and Partners was very helpful when we were looking at where and how to expand our London sales office. They have also provided helpful advice on growing our UK business ARIEL ECKSTEIN MANAGING DIRECTOR EMEA LINKEDIN Access to Europe s 500 million consumers. 21% corporation tax in The small profits rate (profits up to 300,000) has been reduced to 20%. Leading digital hub: Tech City. Direct flights to more than 330 destinations Fewer restrictions on doing business than in most other major European cities. First for qualified staff in Europe % tax relief on investments up to 1 million More European HQs than any other city in Europe. 230 languages spoken. Number one European city for the number of patents registered in healthcare, informatics, nanotechnology, wireless technology and video games. 6 How to set up your business in London 7

5 ABOUT LONDON & PARTNERS WHY EXPAND TO LONDON Innovation capital One of the strongest regions and cities on the planet is London. It s highly attractive, and it offers one of the best prospects for business development and innovative thinking. London is the showcase for our work throughout Europe and is paramount in our global strategy. Jeff Brennan Vice President Marketing Finsphere Corporation Business-friendly London is very easy to work in and is a very business-friendly city. The process was a lot less complex than we expected. It took just six months from the initial idea to opening the office. Will Fleming Co-founder and CEO MotionPoint Commerce and culture combined London has an unbelievable energy, thanks to its incredible mix of commerce, culture and people. If you want to grow outside the United States you ve got to come to London. Shimon Bokovza Founder and Managing Partner SushiSamba Capital, clients and people Our decision to expand to London was based on three classic elements: access to capital, access to clients and access to people. Ben Chesser CEO Footfall123 HQ hub This is one of the best cities for global headquarters. It s done us proud. With our global HQ here we are driving into the United States, central and eastern Europe and beyond. It s the right place to be. Howard Pearce Licensee Director Adstream Access to talent The talent in London is another reason to set up here. It s a very large market. We re recruiting people locally in London to create multi-disciplinary teams. Mauricio J Vianna e Silva Partner/Director MJV Technology and Innovation LONDON IS EUROPE S NUMBER ONE CITY FOR FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, ATTRACTING MORE OVERSEAS COMPANIES THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN EUROPE. Overseas companies reveal the critical role London & Partners has played in their expansion plans. Fast forward business growth In terms of regulation, London is a walk in the park. Coming to London was so much easier compared to other cities. We had a lot of support from London & Partners what normally takes months took one week. Albinder Dhindsa Head of International Operations Zomato Starting out INVESTOR INSIGHTS: HOW TO SUCCEED IN LONDON Their service is indispensable to a new start-up business like ours. They helped us every step of the way in our development. I can t speak more highly of their contribution to our work. We are extremely grateful. We think they have done a brilliant job. Vincent Fan Deputy General Manager China Daily UK Seek sound advice Use London & Partners as a sounding board and a counsellor. For me, it was a pretty steep learning curve, and there were things that we weren t used to such as UK employment law. It helped to have London & Partners explain everything. Ben Geliher Co-Founder If You Can 8 How to set up your business in London 9

6 LEGAL ENTITIES Forming a UK entity Legal entities When you decide to establish a business in London, you need to set up a legal entity. NILESH SHAH, Partner at chartered accountants Blick Rothenberg LLP, takes you through the options. Why do I have to set up a UK entity? There are several reasons. Under the Companies Act, an overseas company setting up in the UK must register a UK establishment. This only applies if you haven t already set up a UK subsidiary, for which see below. Also, you can only make immigration applications for inter-group transfers (Tier 2) if you ve set up your UK entity as either an establishment or a subsidiary. How do I decide what kind of legal entity to set up? Ask yourself: what are my commercial aims? Your answers will determine the type of operation that you need to establish and help define your legal and tax status. What are the most common legal entities? There are two: a UK private limited company, known as a subsidiary, or a UK branch of your overseas company, known as a UK establishment. Legal entities Intellectual property VAT R&D tax incentives Tax structures Which is the best legal entity? Many customers and suppliers prefer dealing with a UK company, so setting up a subsidiary is often the best option. What is the legal status of a subsidiary company? It is a separate legal entity from the parent company even though it will be wholly owned by the parent company. It must file, on public record, annual accounts. It is liable for UK corporation tax on its profits but it may be able to take advantage of reduced rates of corporation tax depending on the size of profits globally. What is the status of a UK branch of a parent company? It will be legally the same entity as the parent, meaning that all profits or losses of the UK establishment are incorporated with those of your overseas parent and all debts and liabilities of the UK establishment belong to the overseas parent. It should be registered with Companies House within one month of being established. What taxes will I have to pay on a UK branch of my parent company? This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, work undertaken in preparation for the eventual setting up of a taxable presence may be non-taxable. If the UK activities are taxable, UK corporation tax is payable on the UK establishment s profits, via the submission of an annual tax return. Does a UK branch of my parent company qualify for tax relief? Double tax relief is usually available in the parent company jurisdiction. Will I have to file accounts? Yes, annually, and these accounts will be publicly available. 10 How to set up your business in London 11

7 FORMING A UK ENTITY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Taking control of the exploitation and protection of your inventions, designs, branding, and goods and services is critical to innovation and to the success, of any business starting up in the UK, says JOANNE VENGADESAN, Partner of law firm Penningtons Manches LLP. What intellectual property rights are there in the UK? Identifying and (where appropriate) registering intellectual property rights, along with establishing a strong IP strategy and brand identity is a vital way of ensuring you retain control of the use of your IP rights to generate access to markets, returns on your investment or other commercial benefits. UK intellectual property fees table Patents Trade marks Design rights Application fee for a patent application: Intellectual property rights are treated as intangible forms of property that are capable of ownership and, in some cases, registration.» Patents: a monopoly protection of a new invention capable of industrial application. A patent must be applied for and granted to exist» Trade marks: marks used to differentiate your goods and are capable of registration.» Design rights: protect the appearance of a purely functional product and are capable of registration.» Copyright: protects the form of expression of ideas and, while not capable of registration, is often asserted with the mark.» Know-how: practical information resulting from experience and testing that can be protected as confidential information to maintain its secrecy and therefore is not capable of registration.» Goodwill: goodwill, custom and exclusive right to carry on a business under the business name. Goodwill is not strictly an IP right and is not capable of registration. Application to register a trade mark: plus 50 for each additional class. Registering your IP rights is an important investment that generates significant practical, commercial and legal benefits. Of course one must balance the cost and effort of filing registrations with the benefit of the protection received. In order to maximise this benefit, we would always recommend that you engage specialists as there are pitfalls and it is important to secure the full protection offered by IP rights for the key assets of your business. Registration of a single design or the first design in any multiple application: 60 and 40 for every additional design in any multiple application. A QUICK GUIDE TO: PATENT BOX What? A new scheme that allows companies to apply a 10% rate of corporation tax to all profits attributable to qualifying patents, whether paid separately as royalties or embedded in the sales price of products. Who? A broad range of sectors including electronics, defence, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and manufacturing can benefit. Why? To incentivise companies to retain and commercialise existing patents and to develop new, innovative patented products. And not forgetting The regime will also apply to some other IP rights such as plant variety rights, data protection and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). Visit the HM Revenue & Customs website to find out more. EXPERT TIPS: PENNINGTONS MANCHES LLP ON IP 1 Keep detailed records of the creation, development and manufacture of products and services including who was involved, the dates of creation or design and when they were first shown outside your organisation. 2 Arrange searches of registers and other sources before applying for a patent, trade mark or design to minimise the risk that it may infringe others rights. 3 Maintain contact details of consultants, subcontractors, designers or other service providers and obtain assignments of any rights they create on your behalf. 4 Make use of trading standards and customs authorities who have powers to prevent the circulation of counterfeit goods. 5 Cybersquatting of domain name can be dealt with easily and efficiently at the UK s Nominet resolution service. 6 Promptly seek legal advice if you suspect your rights are being infringed. Request for opinion as to validity or infringement: 200. Application for grant of a Supplementary Protection Certificate: 250. Renewal of trade mark registration: 200 plus 50 for each additional class. Application to record a change of ownership: 50. Deferring registration and publication of a design: 40 for a single design or the first design in any multiple application and 20 for every additional design in a multiple application. Requesting publication and registration of deferred designs: 40 per design. 12 How to set up your business in London 13

8 FORMING A UK ENTITY TAX STRUCTURE Tax structures Which taxes should concern you, what rates should you pay and what are your legal obligations? NILESH SHAH, Partner at Blick Rothenberg LLP, covers the highlights. EXPERT TIPS: LEGAL MATTERS NILESH SHAH, Partner at Blick Rothenberg LLP, shares his advice. Understanding VAT Corporation tax Income tax National insurance What? A type of social security. Who? Both employers and employees are subject to National Insurance contributions as a percentage of the gross salary paid to an employee. How to calculate? As an employer you must calculate this amount and pay it to HMRC on a monthly basis, along with the PAYE tax. Current rates for employees are 12% of salary between 153 and 805 per week, and then a further 2% on income above that limit. For employers, the rate is 13.8% of total salary above 153 per week. As an overseas national you may also be subject to UK National Insurance. VAT is the UK sales tax, and chargeable by businesses if they are making sales that total 81,000 or more. The main areas where VAT should be considered are importing goods for resale; providing services from overseas to private individuals in Europe; and digital businesses who are transacting with businesses and individuals in different jurisdictions: consideration should be given to this when building platforms/commercial websites so that information is captured correctly for reporting purposes. None of the above issues are difficult if they are considered upfront. Explore R&D tax incentives What? You will be asked to pay corporation tax on the profits your UK business makes. How much? The mainstream rate of corporation tax is 21%. This will be followed by a reduction on 1 April 2015 when the rate will reach 20%. The small profits rate (profits up to 300,000) is 20%. Who works it out? You are required to calculate your own company tax liability and file an annual return of your results over the company accounting period. You should seek specialist advice to make sure that your business is structured in the most taxefficient way and that you know how much corporation tax you need to pay and when. What? Income tax is generally deducted from your salary on a monthly basis, through an employer-run system known as pay as you earn (PAYE), and automatically paid to HMRC. How much? As an employee, you will pay between 0% and 45% tax, depending on your earnings. Employer responsibilities As an employer, you should seek professional advice regarding the most tax-efficient payment system for your employees and advice on how to calculate income tax liabilities for foreign nationals. How much income tax will you pay? The first 10,000 of your earnings is covered by your personal allowance (0% tax). The next 31,865 is taxed at the basic rate of 20%. The higher rate of 40% applies to income between 31,866 and 150,000, after which the maximum rate of 45% applies. Value-added tax (VAT) What? VAT is the UK sales tax. How much? If the annual turnover of your UK business exceeds 81,000 per year you are required to register with HMRC and pay this tax on your sales. The VAT rate applicable depends upon the goods or services you supply. The standard rate is currently 20%. A reduced rate (5%) or a rate of zero can apply. Who to ask for advice? VAT legislation is complex and you should seek expert advice to make sure that you are paying the correct rate of VAT. Correct as of June 2014 The UK has become a great place to undertake R&D. R&D tax incentives are available for innovation and apply across all industry sectors. The incentives are most attractive for SMEs, which can claim a deduction of 225% of R&D expenditure. Companies with tax losses can claim a cash credit of up to for every 100 spent on R&D. And while innovation is generally thought of as a totally new development, in practice businesses are finding that many areas of development, particularly around technology, are deemed to be innovative and qualify as R&D. Large companies are eligible for a deduction of 130%, and as of 1 April 2013 a loss-making company may also receive a repayable cash credit. 14 How to set up your business in London 15

9 ORGANISING VISAS Practical steps Organising visas Bringing over staff to set up and run a London business is straightforward, as long as you understand your options and UK immigration law, says CHARLIE PRING, Senior Counsel, Taylor Wessing. Visas Immigration compliance Bank accounts Telecommunications Insurance Recruiting staff PAYE and NIC Staff contracts Setting up the office Citizens of any countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can work freely in the UK and across Europe. If you plan to transfer a non-european employee from an overseas office to set up and run your new UK operation, that person should apply for a sole representative visa before you start trading in the UK. After your UK entity has commenced business or hired UK based employees, often the only way to bring key overseas employees to work in the UK is for your UK entity to obtain a sponsor licence from the UK immigration authorities. The current timing for a company to apply for and obtain a sponsor licence is typically at least three months from the sole representative arriving in the UK, depending on how quickly the UK entity can arrange a UK bank account. Once the licence is in place, non-eea employees can come to work for your UK entity under a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) or Tier 2 General work visa, provided that the company has complied with any applicable conditions. Once the UK office has issued a certificate of sponsorship (electronic work permit), the visa application process overseas usually takes around two to four weeks from submission, but again careful planning is required. There is only one chance to bring over a non-eea national as a sole representative during the life of the entity in the UK. If you are looking to hire a skilled non-european employee for your UK operation, check whether they have or can obtain a European passport through their family s citizenship, and/or whether they have a British/ European spouse or partner travelling with them to the UK. This may provide an alternative and faster solution. CHARLIE PRING SENIOR COUNSEL TAYLOR WESSING 16 How to set up your business in London 17

10 PRACTICAL STEPS ORGANISING VISAS Visa type Ideal for Applicants must Resulting in Don t forget How long to organise? Sole representative visa Tier 1 entrepreneur visa Established senior employee of an overseas business that does not have any presence in the UK. Applicants must not be majority shareholders of the parent business. Business owners and founders: there are no restrictions on the size of shareholding in the new London business. Be the UK entity s first hire and be responsible for running the new UK office, which must be set up as a wholly owned subsidiary or establishment (branch). Have access to at least 200,000 ( 50k in some limited cases) to invest into a trading UK company (other than a property business). Also need: Sufficient personal maintenance funds English language To meet a genuine entrepreneur test assessing track record and credibility. A three-year visa, extendable by a further two years. Permanent residency after five years continuous stay. A 40-month visa, extendable by a further two years. Permanent residency after five years, but can be accelerated in some circumstances. You must meet English language requirements and be based full time in the UK (personal and business travel is permitted). You can only extend your visa beyond 40 months if you invest the required level of funds ( 200k or 50k) into a UK business, register as a UK director or as selfemployed, and create at least two full-time jobs for settled workers. Tier 2 visas Sponsored visa for skilled workers You will need a sponsorship licence from UK Visas & Immigration There are minimum skill and salary levels for all Tier 2 visas A 12 month cooling off period often applies from the end of a Tier 2 visa or UK assignment preventing the migrant from applying overseas for a new Tier 2 visa, but it does not apply if salary is at least 153,500 per year. Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers (ICT) Tier 2 General Prospective entrepreneur visa DECISION-MAKER: WHICH VISA? Transferring skilled overseas-based non-eu employees from overseas group companies to your UK operation. Hiring other skilled non-eu staff that are ineligible for Tier 2 ICT visas or that are outside your employing group (eg recruits from other UK businesses currently on Tier 2 visas with another sponsor). Visiting entrepreneurs looking for UK VC funding. Be paid at least 41,000 a year ( 24,500 for visas up to 12 months duration), or the minimum market rate for the role if higher. Be paid a minimum salary of 20,500 a year (or the minimum market rate for the role, if higher) and meet English language requirements. Have a letter of interest from (usually) a UK VC, regulated by the FCA, stating that they may invest 50,000+. A visa of up to five years in total (or nine years if annual salary is at least 153,500). Does not lead to permanent residency. A visa capped at six years (up to five years initially with an extension to six years in total). Leads to permanent residency after five years. A stay limited to six months, with no work permitted. After a maximum of five years (nine years if annual salary is at least 153,500), the employee must leave the UK. Applicants must not own more than 10% of the business (unless annual salary is at least 153,500). The UK business may need to advertise the role for at least 28 days before arranging a visa to a non-eu national, but various exemptions apply. You can switch to a full Tier 1 entrepreneur visa within six months if funding is achieved, although it may be faster to apply in your home country. 24 weeks from application. 28 weeks from application (can sometimes take several months). Licence for start-ups: approx. 3 months from having first employee on the ground in UK (faster for established businesses). 24 weeks from application (but a sponsor licence must be in place first). 24 weeks from application (but a sponsor licence must be in place first). 24 weeks from application. EXPERT VIEW: IMMIGRATION COMPLIANCE Make sure your set-up strategy takes account of a possible gap of several months between getting the first employee on the ground on a sole representative visa and getting the next employee(s) over on a sponsored Tier 2 visa, advises CHARLIE PRING, Senior Counsel at law firm Taylor Wessing. Checklist: sole representative visa An overseas business intending to send a senior non-european employee over to the UK to set up and run its UK office should arrange for the employee to apply for a sole representative visa, officially called a representative of an overseas business visa. Currently, this visa leads to permanent residency after five years. As with most UK visas, the sole representative s family members meaning spouse/long-term co-habiting partner or children under 18 will be able to apply to accompany the main applicant to the UK. They will be granted visas for the same duration as the sole representative and the partner/spouse will be able to work for any UK employer without restriction. An overseas business can only have one sole representative; usually, any other non- European employees requiring a work visa will not be able to work for the UK business until the UK entity has a sponsor licence to grant sponsored Tier 2 work permits. You can apply for a sole representative visa if:» you don t have a subsidiary, branch or other representative (for example, a UK-based employee) already in the UK. It is still possible to obtain a sole representative visa if the UK establishment/subsidiary has already been set up (and registered a UK bank account or taken other preliminary steps), but the application will be refused if the UK entity has already commenced trading, which means that the UK entity must not have signed any customer/ commercial contracts or hired UK employees» your proposed new UK entity will be an establishment (registered branch) or wholly owned by the overseas business» your UK operation will carry out the same type of business as the overseas corporation. The sole representative must:» not be a majority shareholder (meaning 50% or more) of the overseas business» meet English language requirements» be based full time in the UK, although there is flexibility for business or personal travel» disclose various company and personal documents to support the application, including evidence of the trading status of the overseas business (e.g. financial statements) and the role and seniority of the employee. A detailed business plan for the new UK operation will also need to be disclosed. EXPERT VIEW: THE TIER 1 ENTREPRENEUR VISA The Tier 1 entrepreneur visa allows non-eea/swiss citizens to establish or take over a business in the UK. JAMES KLEIN, Partner at commercial and private law firm Penningtons Manches LLP, explains. Immigration for individuals In most cases, individuals applying for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa must have access to at least 200,000 of investment funds (own or third-party). The initial visa will be granted for three years, and further leave will be granted if certain requirements are met. Investment in a business that owns residential property or is involved in property development or property management is not acceptable for visa purposes. Immigration for companies Businesses with a base in the UK may wish to recruit non-eea/swiss members of staff. In order to do so, they will need a sponsorship licence. To gain a sponsorship licence, the UK organisation must:» apply to the UK Border Agency to register as a sponsor» provide a substantial number of documents that demonstrate that it is an established entity in the UK» be able to comply with duties set out by the UK Border Agency. 18 Please note: visa timings fluctuate and the UK s immigration rules and minimum salary thresholds often change at short notice. Salary thresholds are correct as at September 2014, but typically change on 6 April each year. How to set up your business in London 19

11 PRACTICAL STEPS BANK ACCOUNTS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INSURANCE Bank accounts, telecommunications and insurance Opening a bank account: documentation checklist When you set up your business in London, you will also set up a business bank account. MICHAEL EDWARDS, Inward Investment manager at HSBC, tells you what you ll need to bring along if you ve set up a company or limited liability partnership (LLP).» Business customer application form: detailing company activities, projected turnover, transactions details, directors and beneficial owners and principal controllers, including the personal addresses and dates moved in.» Mandate for companies registered under the Companies Act: contains details of all signatories to the account.» Registration of the company: UK companies should provide the company registration number. Overseas companies should provide a certificate of incorporation.» Identification and verification of address: a recent bank statement or utility bill for all beneficial owners, directors and people who may be considered principle controllers of the business.» Company structure chart: detailing ownership and respective percentage share held.» Bank statements: if your company is a newly registered subsidiary of an existing company, you will need to provide statements for your parent company original or certified copies of the latest three months. If the business is new, you must provide original or certified copies of the latest three months of the personal bank statements of the business owners, directors and principal controllers.» Audited accounts: if your business wants to borrow money from the bank, the bank may request copies of your financial accounts. EXPERT VIEW: SETTING UP A COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK Plan your telephone, internet and TV connections carefully, says STEVE RUDD, Business Development Manager at IT services provider ITRM. Most people don t realise that it can take between four to six weeks to install telephone lines and up to 60 working days to install a dedicated leased internet connection. You have a choice of analogue or digital telephone lines. I would recommend a digital system. This will give you a single main number together with direct dial numbers for each member of your team. You will also be able to divert and transfer calls. There is a new cost-competitive digital system called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which allows you to install a dedicated internet connection and break out voice calls. Regarding TV, lots of US companies like to have international stations such as Bloomberg. You have three choices. Fibre connections are good as long as you are in a connected area. A set-top box is another option, but many channels aren t available. The third option is satellite TV provider Sky, which requires a dish. In some areas you ll need planning permission to put a dish on the roof, and permission is not always granted due to planning restrictions. Also be aware that if you go to a major provider such as BT and you don t have a credit history in the UK you will probably be asked to pay rental up front. We re a BT reseller so offer to take the cost on your behalf. Insurance: are you covered? In the UK, insurance protection is compulsory to cover you against a number of risks. You must arrange insurance as soon as your new company employs staff. Once you have acquired your premises and are ready for trading, you should arrange for the following insurance protection:» Assets: buildings and/or tenants improvements; contents; computer equipment; stock; marine cargo; goods in transit; money and securities; fraud and dishonesty.» Income: either gross income or gross profit; increased costs of working to maintain income or services. You should also consider taking advanced loss-ofprofit insurance.» Liabilities: employers liability; public and products liability; professional/services liability; internet liability; libel and slander; breach of copyright.» People: personal accident; business travel; private healthcare; executive protection.» Other risks: motor insurance; credit insurance; engineering inspection; and legal expenses. EXPERT VIEW: INSURANCE MATTERS Getting the right insurance is crucial in the UK, says MATTHEW CLARK of independent insurance broker La Playa. A bad insurance decision could break your business. As the cradle of insurance, London is a centre of excellence but it s important to work with a specialist broker who really understands your work and business risks. That way, you ll probably get better terms and avoid gaps in cover or over-paying. Some insurance is mandatory. UK law requires that you hold:» Employers liability insurance to cover compensation and legal costs if an employee suffers work-related injury or illness» Third party motor insurance if you plan to use vehicles in the UK individual or fleet policy. With the UK increasingly litigious, it s important to have the right liability insurances: legal costs (think intellectual property infringement, service failure, contract breach, data breach, defamation, unfair dismissal, faulty product ) can be crippling. If your existing insurance can t be extended for your London activities, talk to us about establishing a customised programme to protect your business as it grows. You ll also need a compliant pension plan to cover staff we can help with that too. 20 How to set up your business in London 21

12 PRACTICAL STEPS RECRUITING STAFF Recruiting staff To be successful in London, you need to recruit and develop the best staff. You may also want to transfer staff from your offices in other markets. This chapter tells you what to consider when relocating, recruiting and paying your team. Write it down Within two months of hiring an employee you must, by law, provide the employee with a written statement of certain terms and conditions governing his or her employment. This should set out your employee s rights and obligations and your rights and obligations towards the employee. Charlie Pring Senior Counsel Taylor Wessing LLP A QUICK GUIDE TO: EMPLOYER WITHHOLDING TAX RESPONSIBILITIES & SOCIAL SECURITY As an employer, you are responsible for withholding income tax and National Insurance Contributions (NIC). KIKI STANNARD, Partner at Fitzgerald and Law LLP, takes you through your obligations. What? Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is the system used to compute income tax on an employee s pay. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provide a Tax Code that reflects the employee s personal circumstances in order to collect the correct amount of income tax from pay during the year. NIC are also subject to withholding. The employee s NIC provides an entitlement to state benefits, including a pension. Employer NIC are due on a percentage of pay and benefits in addition to the employee s NIC. How? You will need to register as an employer with HMRC ( to be issued with an employer reference and PAYE guide. When? The tax and NI should be paid to HMRC by the 19th of the calendar month following the payment. Failure to operate PAYE and NIC withholding at the right time and pay HMRC can result in interest and penalties. Other benefits? Employers are also responsible for reporting benefits in kind provided to employees, such as medical insurance and share incentive plans, at the end of the tax year. The value of these benefits will be subject to income tax and employers NIC. Exemptions and opting out? In some cases, for internationally mobile staff, an exemption from PAYE and NIC may be available if the visits are short term and the individual remains employed abroad. The exemption must be agreed with HMRC. There are also tax exemptions for specific benefits provided by the employer such as HMRC-approved share plans, Childcare Vouchers, Cycle to Work and pensions. These are subject to specific conditions and monetary limits. EXPERT VIEW: UK EMPLOYMENT LAW UK employment law is influenced by European employment regulation but does have its own rules and requirements, advises KIKI STANNARD, Partner at Fitzgerald and Law LLP. UK employment law is influenced by European employment regulation but does have its own rules and requirements. It is necessary to have an employment contract or written agreement specifying the terms of the employment including pay, benefits, working hours, job description, annual leave, confidential information and restrictive covenants. There are specific employment laws that provide the minimum requirements for any employment. These cover working time directives, statutory sick pay, annual leave, maternity pay and maternity leave as well as nondiscrimination on the grounds of gender, age, disability, race, sexual orientation and religion or belief. Harness fair and flexible legislation The UK has one of the most flexible employment regimes in Europe. Employees are protected from most forms of discrimination and have statutory rights relating to, for example, working time, minimum wage, and unfair dismissal. James Klein Partner Penningtons Manches LLP IF YOU RE LOOKING FOR SENIOR EXECUTIVES, SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT STAFF OR ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT, LONDON & PARTNERS CAN INTRODUCE YOU TO THE BEST RECRUITMENT AGENCIES, HELP YOU RECRUIT STAFF WITH THE SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE YOU NEED, AND SHOW YOU HOW TO TAP INTO FUNDING FOR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT. Employers also have statutory responsibilities in relation to verifying the employee s identity and right to work in the UK, procedures on termination of employment and withholding tax on pay and benefits. 22 How to set up your business in London 23

13 PRACTICAL STEPS RECRUITING STAFF AT A GLANCE GUIDE: HOW TO FIND EMPLOYEES? How should you choose between recruitment agencies, do-it-yourself advertising and the job centre? IAN WARD, Sales Director of People First, specialist recruiter of multilingual office support and supply chain/logistics staff, has the answers. DECISION-MAKER: WHICH CONTRACT? Which employment contract should you use permanent, fixed-term, or temporary? IAN WARD, Sales Director of People First, offers his advice. Why do it? Any downsides? I want Use Resulting in Recruitment agency Less stress Agencies handle the whole process on your behalf, including: advertising, sourcing candidates via online databases and social media; screening CVs and interviewing short-listed candidates to assess suitability; co-ordinating interviews and negotiating offers. Speed Agencies have existing databases of pre-screened candidates, ready to start work. Fees One-off consultancy fees for permanent and fixed-term recruitment typically range from 15-25% of the candidate s annual salary. Fully engaged staff who will commit on a long-term basis. Someone for an agreed period for a specific task. The ability to increase and decrease support at short notice to cater for changes in demand. An open-ended, full-time or part-time permanent contract. A fixed-term contract. A recruitment agency and employ someone using a temporary contract. A long-term investment in the business. The right person for the job within the allotted time and budget. Flexible, on-demand staff. The recruitment agency will handle the payment of wages, statutory deductions and other related administration. Advertising/online sourcing Jobcentre Plus Colleges and universities Peace of mind Agencies have an understanding of UK recruitment and employment legislation, which can prove invaluable. Fees tend to be either success-based or payable in stages, so if your agency doesn t find your ideal candidate, you won t be out of pocket; in addition, most agencies offer a free replacement or rebate clause. Control You can advertise for staff on your own website, via online job boards, social media, specialist trade press and local or national newspapers. Free of charge This government-run employment agency finds candidates for you. Raw talent Contact the careers department of colleges and universities if you are recruiting around the end of the academic year (May/June) and are looking for graduates for trainee positions. Cost and time It may be difficult to choose the best platform for your advertisement and to target the right candidates. It can be expensive, and screening applications, interviewing and hiring can also be time-consuming. No ultimate guarantee of success. Skills More difficult to find staff with specialist skills or a proven track record. Experience Less suitable if you need candidates with specific work experience. EXPERT VIEW: HOW TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENTED INDIVIDUALS Attracting top talent is key to the success of any business. There is always a shortage of skilled candidates, particularly for niche roles, and there may be a lot of competition to entice candidates to move, not least from the candidate s current employer. To be an employer of choice you will need to consider offering some kind of benefits scheme. The following could be considered:» Medical insurance: access to private healthcare for the individual is often one of the most common benefits offered by employers and one of the most valued by employees.» Flexible working: this can include flexi-time, working from home, job share or part-time working to help employees to maintain a work/life balance.» Annual leave: the statutory minimum for annual leave in the UK is 28 days including Bank Holidays, but many employers offer in excess of this. Some companies also offer the opportunity for employees to accrue extra holidays through long service.» Stakeholder pension: between 2012 and 2016 it will become compulsory for all employers to offer their employees access to a pension scheme and to make contributions on their behalf. The date when employers must begin making contributions depends on the number of employees on the organisation s payroll.» Transport: a season ticket loan for the price of an annual train ticket is valued by employees commuting by public transport.» Gym membership: a healthy workforce is a productive workforce. Some employers offer gym membership so that employees can exercise before or after work, or even during their lunch hour.» Childcare: some employers offer a childcare voucher scheme which could ensure that employees realise substantial tax savings on childcare costs. No matter how wonderful your brand or exciting the role, candidates still appreciate little perks, and these may represent the tipping point where a candidate chooses your offer over another. 24 How to set up your business in London 25

14 PRACTICAL STEPS SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE LONDON IS EUROPE S LEADING LOCATION FOR EUROPEAN HEADQUARTERS. LONDON & PARTNERS CAN HELP YOU FIND THE BEST LOCATION FOR YOUR BUSINESS BASED ON YOUR NEEDS, LONDON DEMOGRAPHICS, ACCESS TO SUPPLIERS AND KEY CUSTOMER MARKETS. Setting up your office London offers an unrivalled range of property: from flexible office start-ups through to multi-storey buildings, prestigious headquarters and secure warehousing. This section explains what you re likely to get for your money and the best ways to fit out a space. EXPERT VIEW: HOW TO PLAN THE PERFECT OFFICE Planning your office starts with your people, says JOE FIRESTONE, Director at Progress Work Place Solutions. Before you do anything, collate the information you need to create a brief for your designer. Start with an organisational chart and consider how this will be affected during your likely expansion throughout the lease term. Ask yourself: would separate offices or open-plan best suit working practices? How many meeting rooms are required? Are there any unique specifications? Collect photos of your overseas offices and seek guidance from colleagues who have delivered projects before. What would they have done differently? Decide whether you are going to replicate the look and feel of your other offices, or adopt a London look. Your brief should feature desired and essential features and physical needs such as the number of required meeting rooms. Clearly state your IT requirements. Do you need a server room? Video conferencing? Laptop or PC-based solutions? You should also decide how the workplace should feel. Collate all the information ready for a discussion with your designer and/or project manager. They can fill in gaps. And choose a fit-out company that has proven experience of setting up other overseas companies in London. Do» Employ a professional designer and/or project manager.» Establish your requirements throughout the likely lease period.» Decide on your office look and culture.» If you operate in a talent-competitive sector, think about how your facilities could attract the talent you will need to succeed.» Decide how much you want to be involved personally. Don t» Attempt to deal with the statutory regulations, contractors and suppliers yourself.» Assume additional space can be added as the business expands.» Assume that services and costs will be the same as your home market.» Spend your valuable time on setting up the office unless you want to.» Rush. It s important that you set a realistic timetable and understand how long the search, negotiation and fit-out process is likely to take. Usually the physical fit-out can be completed within eight weeks of signing a lease. Without London & Partners it would have been difficult to get our new office set up. Frankly, we probably wouldn t have done it. ANTHONY PEREIRA CEO ALTPOWER EXPERT VIEW: HOW TO NEGOTIATE A LEASE There is no standard lease in the UK, says DAISY YORK, Head of Residential Corporate Services at Knight Frank, so you can negotiate your main terms of occupation with the landlord directly. Key factors to consider include:» Rent reviews: most leases allow the landlord periodically (typically every five years) to increase the rent.» Rent-free periods: the length of any rent-free period will depend on the overall terms of any transaction.» Lease length: 5 to 15 years is typical, although break clauses can be negotiated.» Insurance and repairs: a professional team should make sure that your premises are in good condition, and negotiate insurance and repair liabilities.» Ancillary costs: explore rates, value-added tax, stamp duty, Land Registry fees and service charges on multi-tenanted buildings. 26 How to set up your business in London 27

15 PRACTICAL STEPS SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE EXPERT VIEW: CHOOSING SERVICED OFFICE SPACE A QUICK GUIDE TO: SERVICED OFFICE COSTS ACROSS LONDON All prices are based on the cost of one workstation per month and subject to change. NORTH Top: Middle: Budget: EAST Top: Middle: Budget: Predicting where your business will be in five years is extremely difficult, says GERAINT EVANS, Sales and Marketing Director at Avanta Serviced Office Group. If your business can t commit to a long-term lease, a serviced office is the ideal option. WEST Top: Middle: Budget: However there are a number of factors to consider:» Location: ensure your location fits your business image, offers good amenities and transport links.» Price: if cost is an issue go for an allinclusive package. Additional services will be included in your license fee. Perfect for smaller budgets.» Service: you can t beat great service. Always look for a provider that delivers the business support services you need to grow your business.» Networking: Some providers, like Avanta, offer free networking events for clients. A great opportunity to meet and do business with other like-minded companies. CENTRAL Top: 900 1,100 Middle: Budget: CITY Top: 850 1,000 Middle: Budget: SOUTH Top: Middle: Budget: 28 How to set up your business in London 29

16 PRACTICAL STEPS SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE Free Touchdown London: one free desk space for a period of up to 12 months. 1 London & Partners, working with serviced office provider Avanta and the London Borough of Bexley, offers clients one desk space for up to a year. The space is shared with other London & Partners clients. There are Touchdown desks in west London, central London, in the City of London near Liverpool Street and Bexley. The only monthly cost payable is 99 +VAT to cover a phone and broadband connection,receptionist services, printing, photocopying and faxing facilities. 2 Virtual A mailbox address and phone number, or where a third party provider offers to employ a person who would otherwise be an overseas company s UK employee. Unless used for a very short period of time no, or very few, UK start-up expenses are saved by setting up a virtual office. You may end up paying the same amount as is required for setting up an entity, as well as the virtual office fees. You miss out on receiving exposure of your name in the UK and the opportunity to reserve your name at Companies House. Fully-furnished and serviced Provides all initial start-up support, including furniture, meeting and conference rooms, communal secretarial/receptionist service, a telephone system and IT cabling. These offices are charged monthly on a per person basis, and you can expect typical contracts of three to twelve months with a one-month notice period. Touchdown clients receive 25% off serviced offices within the Avanta portfolio. Permanent Leasehold or freehold (where you own the offices outright) premises. The search for permanent office space can be time-consuming, and it usually takes between four and six months to find a property and move in. London & Partners professional network of commercial property agents, lawyers and architectural/workplace planning consultants can assist in every aspect of the process, ensuring that your office move runs smoothly. 1. Subject to availability. 2. Phone calls made are paid for on a monthly basis with a clear itemised billing system. Computers are not supplied within this agreement. Monthly cost also includes 20% discount on hiring meeting rooms and free tea and coffee. 30 How to set up your business in London 31

17 LAUNCH AND GROW Launch and grow How to sell in the UK Act like a local, says JAMES BLAKEMORE, Managing Director of business development consultancy JMB Partnership. 01 Analyse your successes in your home market. Which customers earn you most profit? Find similar customers in the UK to target. 02 Create case studies featuring recognisable brands. Decision-makers like buying products and services that have already been purchased by recognisable brands. Offer preferential rates to entice big brands to buy. How to sell Managing your reputation Networking Finding professional partners Working the room 03 Set up a proper UK presence to prove you are serious. Set up a UK limited company with a UK address, telephone number and UK-focused website. Comfort factors, such as knowing it s possible to get hold of suppliers at short notice, are key to buyers. 06 Use trade shows to introduce your product/service. Even if you don t invest in a stand, you can book meetings and network with prospects. But don t try to sell to exhibitors without organising a meeting: they have invested in a stand to sell to their customers and will be put off by unscheduled sales pitches. 04 Translate your marketing materials. Use local knowledge and language skills to translate your website and marketing collateral for a UK audience. 05 Find out your competitors rates and prices. Don t just convert your home country prices into pounds using an exchange rate calculator. The UK market might offer the opportunity for bigger margins. 07 Meet people. Identify your targets and ask for a meeting. The more people you meet, the more chance you have of growing your business by word-of-mouth. The best sales tool is recommendation. 32 How to set up your business in London 33

18 LAUNCH AND GROW NETWORKING AND FINDING PROFESSIONAL PARTNERS INVESTOR INSIGHTS: PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT There are many ways to develop professionally and personally, according to London & Partners experts and clients. Sell, sell, sell Be very direct. Here the market works quickly. You don t need a long pre-sales period of 612 months as in other markets. When people see your solution they will say yes or no and you can move on. Menelaos Ioannidis Managing Partner Sense One Technologies Leverage agencies London s large agency infrastructure is important for the rapid growth of HootSuite. We wanted to be at the heart of agency culture. Being in central London also helps us attract and retain talent. Ambrosia Humphrey Director of Human Resources HootSuite A QUICK GUIDE TO: PROMOTING YOUR BUSINESS AND MANAGING YOUR REPUTATION It s never too early to start creating a buzz around your new London business, says JOANNA DODD, Managing Director at Rochester PR Group. Get your message right. You know your business in its home territory, what to say and who to say it to, but launching in London requires a fresh look at your brand and how it could appeal to a new audience, in a new country, with new competitors. Know your stakeholders. Take time to discover who is important to your business, what is important to them and how to communicate with them. It won t be the same as back home. Manage your reputation from the outset. Planning to invest in your brand PR at a later stage? Don t start now. Social media has changed the PR landscape and if you don t talk about your business, someone else might, and not always positively. Remember Warren Buffet s famous adage: It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. Do s and don ts: using a PR consultancy Before you do anything, take the time to write down your business objectives and any background information that might be useful. Do» Work out what you are trying to do and who you are trying to reach: are you trying to generate sales enquiries? Recruit? Influence opinion formers?» Define your corporate and market positioning: a good PR consultancy will also be able to help do this as part of their work for you.» Meet and brief: this is when your written document is needed. Explain what you are trying to achieve and ask the consultancy to outline what they can do for you and any insight they can provide from similar projects or clients with whom they have worked. They might present their credentials or supply this after the meeting. Remember that the more information you give, the more specific their response is likely to be.» On appointment: take the consultancy into your confidence, share information and answer any questions that they might have. Don t» Overlook other marketing activity: consider what you can achieve by networking with industry contacts and through other marketing activity, events, sponsorship, and trade and consumer shows. Your PR should support these.» Assume the UK media works in the same way as it does in your home territory. There will be differences.» Leave the budget vague: try to give an upper and lower figure. It will be a waste of time on both sides if a consultancy prepares a programme for a large budget when you only have limited funds and vice-versa.» Set unrealistic timetables: don t ask for the proposal immediately if you cannot guarantee to give a speedy response in return. Networking and finding professional partners London & Partners can introduce you to a vast network of professional partners and new business opportunities. But how do you build on this to make your contacts productive and profitable? This section tells you how. EXPERT TIPS: TEN GOLDEN RULES: HOW TO WORK THE ROOM Networking is about buying as well as selling, says STUART WEBSTER, Marketing Manager at the London Chamber of Commerce. 1 Select your event carefully. Attend events that are likely to attract your customers or target contacts. 2 Make a memorable first impression. Say succinctly what your organisation offers. 3 Listen to people s needs and try to help. 4 Focus on establishing a mutual interest, not closing sales. 5 Offer your business card when the conversation is underway. Do not thrust a card in the person s hand the moment you meet. 6 Make notes on the back of business cards you collect. This will refresh your memory when following up. 7 Work the room. Don t spend too much of your time at an event with one person: aim to spend 70% of your time with people you don t already know. 8 Follow up contacts of interest within 24 hours. Tailor your by highlighting key points of your conversation. 9 target contacts you didn t get the chance to meet at the event and try to arrange a meeting. 10 Be prepared to buy as well as sell, and share information as well as gather it. 34 How to set up your business in London 35

19 LAUNCH AND GROW NETWORKING AND FINDING PROFESSIONAL PARTNERS EXPERT VIEW: THE ART OF NETWORKING JAMES LAYFIELD, CEO of business support service Central Working, says the secret of successful networking lies in mixing formal with informal meet-ups. Networking is just trying to get to the people and resources to help you to grow your business and improve your life. Never is this more important than when you start out in a new city. In London, we are awash with opportunities to make connections. Websites like, or will yield a plethora of potential meetings, events, lunches, drinks and other activities. I recommend combining more sociable, evening mixers, with some more formal meet-ups. This should give you a broad range of people and topics. Events that you have to pay to attend generally put you in a room with more relevant and helpful individuals. Once at the event you have to be interested: it s not just about broadcasting what you want or need. Listen and try to help them with their challenges and opportunities. This open, collaborative approach is at the very heart of my business, Central Working. We have been described by LinkedIn as the real world LinkedIn. If you need connections and contacts then Central Working can help you find them. Let us help you launch into the UK. INVESTOR INSIGHTS: LET IT GROW London & Partners clients reveal how they expanded their networks. Ask for referrals I wish I had talked to other general managers and got referrals for legal and recruitment services. I spent so much time doing due diligence and creating my own contracts but I should have talked to other companies. Leah Belsky Vice President and General Manager Europe, Middle East and Africa Kaltura Tap into London & Partners vast network If I needed an attorney, an accountant, an appointment or a referral, London & Partners worked so hard to make it happen. J.T. Marburger President Insignia Promotions Make that call If you need to speak to a senior person in a large organisation, they are available [in London]. It s amazing to be able to build a business this way. There s a great degree of openness and friendliness here. You can meet for a cup of coffee tomorrow. Thomas Magnuson CEO Magnuson Worldwide 36 How to set up your business in London 37

20 ENJOY LONDON LIFE Enjoy London Life Get the most out of living in London London is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities on earth. This chapter takes you through the best ways to set up home and enjoy daily life in the metropolis. How to find a home Transport links Cost of everyday items Educating your children Time off and time out 38 39

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